Power

Is there foul play in Rio’s Covid-19 corruption probe?

Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel claims the operation against him is a political witch hunt ordered by the president

Is there foul play in Rio's Covid-19 corruption probe?
Rio’s Wilson Witzel denies any wrongdoing: “Imaginative narratives, hasty investigations.” Photo: Carlos Magno/FP

To make things easier for local governments to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, Brazilian lawmakers placed the country under a “state of calamity” in March, which lifts many of the controls imposed by strict public spending laws, allowing contracts to be fast-tracked and public bidding processes to be skipped. However, more cynical observers saw the move as a license to embezzle public funds. “If we have problems with the checks-and-balances systems when they are working, imagine what happens when they’re switched off,” said former Congressman Roberto Jefferson — who has already done time for corruption — in an...

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